G-D DAMN IT

I said I wouldn’t blog on this because words fail me here. Well, it seems that they fail everyone else too. So I have no friggin’ excuse.

This is maddening. MADDENING! NO ONE is in charge, the reporters on the ground say–not even those who we expect to be! If that’s true, I’d be ready to hazard a guess why: Because New Orleans is SH-T POOR. What do they contribute to the national economy? “I mean, come on [somebody has surely thought to himself]…is it any more of a sh-thole than it already was?” We’re talking low-priority here!

Think about this for a second. Don’t you think this would be more like a four-alarm fire (instead of a mere two- or three-alarm fire) if this were happening in Chicago? Or LA? Would there be any confusion at all about whether help was really on the way? Wouldn’t the federal government have already declared something as close to martial law as we can get? I live near Detroit, and I feel confident in saying that if this were happening here, the National Guard would not be mobilized anywhere near as fast as it would be for the heavy-hitters. (I mean, Detroit? Washed up! Bombed out! Ghost town! Armpit! Highway shoulder! WHO CARES?)

For that matter, how long can we Americans care about anything? We’re television-watchers. The media is in the driver’s seat, and we’ll change the channel in the blink of an eye. (The last shot of “The Truman Show” was a pop-vindication for Neil Postman.) The “Boxing Day” tsunami was way worse than this flood, and we stopped watching after, what, a week? It’s not as big a story as this because it wasn’t here (I’ve heard someone on the radio–the mayor of NO?–call this “our tsunami”), and you can be sure it would be an even bigger story if it happened somewhere bigger. Who cares about the South anyway? (Can you imagine if it had happened in Birmingham? Somebody would be saying, “Hey, maybe we’ll see a few floaters in white sheets!”) For that matter, have you noticed how long it took for all of us to become aware of just how awful the situation is? Don’t you know that there was a big-time media yawn-factor that had to be overcome? If it weren’t for Mardi Gras, I don’t think anyone would even know there was a city named New Orleans! (I don’t think most people, even now, could tell you where it is!)

MORAL (if there is one here–I’m a little upset, as you might be able to tell):

POOR (SOUTHERN) PEOPLE + TV CULTURE = FUGGEDABOUTIT. (Or else too little, too late.)

I’ll be happy to be (eventually) proved wrong here. But right now, I’m a little beside myself.

Blah blah blah.

Comments

  1. Mark, I think you are a victim of that same TV culture yourself… On a TV show, it only takes the span of a commercial break to mobilize rescue or response. Unfortunately, in real life, it’s not that easy. There are people who are working their tails off to save lives down there; don’t blame them if it doesn’t go as smoothly as a movie script. Cut them some slack, please.

  2. Jonathan Potter says

    I don’t think Mark’s comments in anyway discredit the heroic efforts that are going on. But it is hard to escape the impression that the speed of the response at the federal level has been inadequate when IMMEDIATE, MASSIVE help is needed. Bush keeps talking about being committed to long-term rebuilding, which is well and good, but that doesn’t help the family trapped in their attic for three days who need help NOW or they’re going to DIE.

  3. concerned in cortland says

    Given that the government and the whole country knew days ahead that Katrina was bearing down on N.O., why was there no PLAN for rapid response to the predictable needs? I feel embarrassed myself when I heard the news that people were ordered to evacuate that I did not wonder, How will they all get out? Where will they go? Who will provide food, water, and shelter for them once they get there?

  4. I understand, the thing is that I have been feeling as angry as Mark seems to be about exactly the opposite thing: the criticism and ungratefulness leveled at those who are trying to help. As a medical tecnician and the son of an army helicopter pilot, I understand the work these members of the rescue teams are doing. But there seems to be a large part of the media and refugee population who are directing unfair anger at the very people who are trying to rescue them. Why doesn’t that make Mark’s blood boil?

    An anecdote: I saw on the news a family which was furious about the fact that a National Guard helicopter spotted them but moved on. They claimed it was a case of being ignored by the authorities. But the truth is, they have no idea whether that chopper was even capable of rescuing them. The chopper probably reported them to people who could rescue them. Many people seem to be criticising the rescuers about things the rescuers have no control over. And when rescue helicopters are being shot at and hospitals are being robbed at gunpoint, I think the level of anger that Mark is displaying towards the authorities could be better directed at the people who are biting the hand that feeds them. Those are the ones who make me mad.

    This is simply my point: Yes, the officials did make mistakes beforehand. They didn’t take the threat seriously enough. But now they are doing the best they can. Why does that make Mark mad enough to break his vow of silence, while the fact that (a small portion of) the refugees are hindering rescuer efforts by shooting at helicopters and EMS personnel doesn’t bother him as much?

    Not to criticise you too much, Mark. I’m glad you’ve taken up Matthew’s blog for the time being. This is just a different perspective than the one you’ve given. Keep up the good work!

  5. Kevin Jones says

    For a Coloradoan like me, the aftermath of Katrina is like the Columbine massacre writ large: the authorities sit outside and picked their noses while the people they had pledged to protect died inside. I had thought better of government response capabilities. The immediate response, which looks to be improving thank God, was a Tragedy of Errors and Incompetents.

    Want to bet the “poor” part is overshadowed by the “majority black” part? Race can be a good smokescreen for poverty issues.

  6. The “majority black” part of the story is hard to deny. The optics are terrible: as tens of thousands of black people are huddled in the Superdome and the Convention Center, slowly starving and dehydrating to death, Bush takes a trip to San Diego and plays guitar. It is hardly unfair for people to draw a conclusion from that. Given that horrible visual (coupled w/ this country’s horrible history re treatment of blacks), I am surprised (and relieved) that no race riots have been sparked in other cities.

    Personally, I suspect this has everything to do w/ incompetence (e.g., hundreds of buses underwater) than race. However, if someone brings up race, it’s hard to deny the images. For a city like New Orleans, it is hard to separate the “poor” part from the “majority black” part.

  7. Mark Lickona says

    bear: Let me be clear. My outrage was in no way directed toward those who are struggling on the ground to help the victims of the flood. It was directed toward those who needed (and still need) to come to the aid of those local authorities and agencies incapacitated by that flood. In other words, yeah, I’m talking about the federal government. The ones who do the bean-counting. The ones who figure out when and how much money and energy to expend on a poor little town like N.O. given that, for example, we’re fighting an all-important war in Iraq, which is demanding a lot of our attention and resources. Given that it’s not NY, LA or Chicago, which make a lot more money (e.g., to fund that all-important war), it’s not hard to see why N.O. wasn’t able to light that hot a fire under W.’s arse. I think it’s pretty clear, to hear him talk, that he does NOT regard this as a four-alarm fire (not compared to the “war on terror,” anyway), such as would call for the most drastic interventions immediately (at least as drastic as requiring local quartering of refugees–oh wait, I forgot, these are undesirables we’re talking about–just find another dome to pack ’em in, then). Bush’s tone on the radio yesterday was embarrassingly defensive, even a little whiny: “If there are problems, we’re gonna fix those problems!” As in “Leave me alone already!” (Excuse me, Mr. President…”if” there are problems??)

  8. AnotherCoward says

    I dunno, Mark. I have a hard time laying this thing at the feet of Bush.

    Each state is responsible for governing itself. If anything, blame starts there, and then works it way up. A state can’t ask a day into rescue and reparations for the aid of the federal government and then expect magic to happen – to have such expectations are simply unrealistic. The simple fact that within a week N.O. has nearly been evacuated is miracle enough in itself.

    It seems like folks are thinking there is some kind of magical solution that we all just missed and/or are missing. I don’t think it’s that clear cut nor ever could be. I find blaming folks, at this point in time anyways, to be asinine but probably and forgivably fueled by emotions, politics, and (most likely in my mind) both. Right now, blame is not needed. Unless you honestly want to accuse someone of deliberate discretion, blame is unneeded – and even then, how about holding off for a while. Lets focus on getting everybody back on their feet and recovering what we can before we start playing politics again.

  9. AnotherCoward says

    should have been INdiscretion … oh well

  10. Mark Lickona says

    AC: Thanks for your comment. I respectfully disagree, however, with your suggestion that those who have found the response of the federal government so underwhelming (like the people who are actually there) are being “unrealistic.” In a such a desparate situation, the least that people might expect from their government (i.e., the government that is not itself under water) is reassurance–even if the reassurance is merely verbal (e.g., “People of New Orleans: I am making every effort. Help is on the way”). But they haven’t even gotten that. Bush has been weirdly silent, awkward, out of touch–he has “stumbled.” And I have a theory why: Because Bush knows that the war in Iraq, in part, set this tragedy up. And now this tragedy places pressure on him to back out of Iraq to put the money (and the manpower) on the home front before all else. And he’s not liking this dilemma.

    Does all this sound political? Of course it is. But this is not about playing a “blame game”–as if this disaster is past tense. It’s about demanding action where there has been inaction, insensitivity, incompetence.

  11. AnotherCoward says

    I see Iraq having about zero impact on the situation at present right now and vice versa. Namely because I have known and know a few military commanders, and they would never leave the home defense such that it could not care for itself. It’s easy to blame something you’re not in touch with … and that’s typically who I see blaming the military and the President. I could be wrong about you; I just don’t know; but I’m going to say that stereotypically, that seems to be true.

    I think you’re underestimating the work being done through the government at all levels. The President has pledged his unwavering support for the repair and aid needed. I heard his speech in New Orleans. I seriously don’t know what it is you’re railing against. Perhaps you haven’t grasped that the scope of this problem is still at present unimaginable by the most informed people (let alone you and me) and so work is going to go very, very slowly.

    Crying negligence and deliberate callousness is just not appropriate right now. That is the blame game. You simply do not know what is going on in the government. You just know what it is you aren’t seeing – and again, I don’t think you’re seeing it because the damage and thus the work being done is so wide spread.

    There will be a time for blame and allegations, Mark. I’m just saying right now is not the time. Wait until the dust settles before you blather self-righteous condemnation. If you want to be vocal, call your government representatives, ask them what they are doing, and what you can do through them or on their recommendation … or do the obvious things and give to the Church and Missions and other organizations that are taking relief into or are already in the area.

    Walk in love and reason, not frustration and suspicion. I think you mean the former, but I perceive more of the latter.

  12. Mark Lickona says

    AC: I guess I thought maybe you’d check some of the links I’ve been posting. But it seems that you haven’t. I’m only reacting to what I’m reading. Are you talking to soldiers on the ground that are contradicting the reporters on the ground? Or those at the Times-Picayune who report that it was diversions of federal funds toward the war and away from the levees that have in part “laid the groundwork” for this disaster? (Is there any doubt that National Guard had to be pulled from Iraq in order to catch up to the chaos in New Orleans?) As the links I’m posting suggest, I’m not alone in observing a connection here, nor in observing that Bush’s response has been weak. And are Republican Congressmen and Congresswomen merely playing a political “blame game” in decrying the federal response as inadequate? You say you don’t know what I’m railing against; the feeling is, in some sense, mutual. I’m just the messenger here.

    I’ll admit I’ve engaged in some speculation concerning Bush’s interiority. But not only am I not alone in my speculations–not only do they seem reasonable considering the obvious conflict of resources there has been and still is between the “war against terror” and the disaster at home–but I was not suggesting anything uncharitable, e.g., “deliberate callousness,” but rather an internal conflict, perhaps even an attack of conscience, on his part. In other words, in pointing up Bush’s apparent hesitations I mean only to point to the reality of the “dilemma” between the war in Iraq and the home front.

    EPILOGUE: It seems that the disaster is indeed “winding down” (in a sense)–meaning, as the flood waters begin to recede it’s time to put lives and neighborhoods back together–and so the time for “calling for action” (as in rescue action), which was my purpose in going on about all this, is coming to a close. So enough.

  13. AnotherCoward says

    Well, one last thing: Yes, I know a soldier stationed in Mississippi and a fellow who has been involved in the decision making in the Dept. of Homeland Security. I don’t believe the LA Guard has been brought home yet, though they have been planned to be brought home. I also thought I saw a report saying they were being replaced.

    The word I’m hearing from my friends is that as far as doing the job they were intended to do, the federal government is doing it. However, there are also significant roles expected by the structure of our federalized government to be played by city and state governments. They have essentially failed due in part of bad leadership and in part of the sheer size of the storm … more so than any plan had coped for. And the federal government is having to cope with that, too, and has obviously had a hard time coping with it.

    Everyone is sympathetic and frustrated with the apparent lack of results – but that’s just it: everyone is only looking at expected results. No one is giving a real eye at what the government is doing (from an internal to external perspective) AND what has to be done in order to do it. This is a catastrophe that dims even 9/11 as far as scope of disaster.

    You know, the President could have put ALL his resources into N.O. for a good photo op, but then, there would be a lot of other people in the surrounding areas who were in as much if not more need and yet more accessible that wouldn’t be alive right now. Even Clinton is pretty much sticking by President Bush’s side, saying that the devastation was just never imagined. Rumor has it the Levy System wasn’t fixed under his watch, too.

    I understand your frustration … I just don’t know what more you expected (you’ve never actually stated what more you DO expect).

  14. Mark Lickona says

    So the LA Guard hasn’t gotten there yet? That must have disappointed the Governor, who promised the looters an ass-whupping at the hands of our boys fom Iraq. Which means the feds have done even less than I thought? And so my “too little, too late” prediction (at least in this respect) has come to pass?

    The word I’m hearing from my friends is that as far as doing the job they were intended to do, the federal government is doing it.

    What was the job that the federal government “was intended” (by someone higher?) to do…restore order? Evacuate citizens? Rescue the endangered? I guess that’s what I expected from them (esp. the restoration of order, which the U.S. Armed Forces could have done better than anybody else). Did the feds help do any of these things? Why are there so many people in the ground (again, see the links) who don’t think so? Can you send your friend in Homeland Security the reports that I’ve been reading and explain the discrepancy between the press at large (“conservative” and “liberal”) and his story of U.S. success? Maybe those conducting the federal inquiry into what the federal government itself is calling a federal f-ckup (OK, they didn’t use that term) would be relieved to hear from your man on the inside that they really did a good job after all (or at least, the best job anyone could do). I know I’ll sleep better.

  15. AnotherCoward says

    I imagine the LA Guard not stationed in Iraq are in New Orleans, but the Guard in Iraq are not home yet. There’s like 4500 of them from one report I saw. It takes time to move those folks.

    My guy in the DHS says:

    In our government, the federal government is supposed to be in a support capacity with state and local governments. …

    The law and order fucntion should have been handled by the NO and LA state police. The evacuation of the poor with no transportation should have been handled by the mayor and the governor — THIS IS NOT A FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY. Our efforts at rescuing and delivering food and medicine was significantly hampered by armed looters who took control of the streets of NO, and that blame lies sqaurely at the feet of the Mayor.

    (Blame belonging to the mayor because he ordered his police force to not concern themselves with maintaining order but instead to focus on rescue and evacuation … understandable, but a bad decision)

    For the most part, this is just a basic civics/government lecture on times of crisis. This shouldn’t be news to you. Things are different to be sure in this case because of the sheer power of the storm, but no one knew that heading into the storm and its aftermath. Hindsight is 20-20.

    I think you need to broaden your audience on the situation, Mark. I’ve heard LOTS of people saying the federal government did step up in those tasks (even if it did take some time), and I’ve also heard LOTS of people saying they need help and aren’t getting what they need. When you’ve got a storm with hurricane force winds that stretches 200 miles at landfall, that’s understandable.

    No one is saying the job is good or bad, Mark. Everyone is saying the job is getting done as it can. Everyone is frustrated with the red tape and slow start on the response, but then, the federal government is not suppose to be in the lead role in these situations. That doesn’t make it right, but it makes it understandable.

    I’ve got absolutely zero problem blaming the federal government where it failed, I just don’t think you can reasonably be able to identify where that happened yet … and certainly the President is not the chief/primary cause … the innards of the nation do not revolve around one man. So I’m not sure why people are jumping all over him except for a general hate of him. …and he makes an easy target.

    But if you think you could have done and do it better, I’ll vote to make you Fuehrer. Because, really, the President should have been the one man show in charge of this situation from the get go. EVERYBODY knew that going in … that’s how America is suppose to work. It’s in our Constitution!

  16. Mark Lickona says

    AC: “Broaden my audience”? Once again, I’m just reacting to what I’m reading, like, everywhere, e.g., the feds themselves (e.g., Republican Congressman and Congresswomen) saying “We screwed up.”

    I’m a little troubled by your friend in DHS (who seems out of step with his own government’s initial assessment of the situation, BTW) appearing to “wash his hands” while the city of New Orleans was awash in floodwater. How could we have reasonably asked New Orleans to keep order when it (including its law enforcement, together with all its other operations and agencies) were in total dis-order, overwhelmed, such that the Mayor had to choose between stopping looters and helping flood victims? Do you tell the drowning man to find his own rope? (To be fair, it might be hard to acknowledge that your government is screwing up even as you’re working your ars off. I’m sure the soldiers fighting in Vietnam felt that way too.)

    And as for the Governor of Louisiana, he was counting on the feds too (i.e., for the boys in Iraq to come home and spank the looters)–and why? Was he lazy? Trying to save tax dollars so he could buy another yacht? Or did he really need the help? Could it all have had something to do with the fact that LA is one of the poorest states in the union? So maybe not even the boys in blue from Baton Rouge could have been adequate to the task? What do we pay taxes for anyway, if not to get the help of the feds when we can’t do it ourselves?

    And when it comes to Bush, from what I’m reading: a) this hasn’t as much to do with the strength of the storm as it does with the levees breaking; b) Bush did in fact pull federal money that was already allocated for levee building for the war in Iraq. So even if his initial response hadn’t been weak, there’s still reason to speak about him personally, and not merely about FEMA. And as far as leadership goes, I think Jonathan Potter already pointed out above that Bush was talking about “rebuilding” when the disaster was anything but past tense. The leader sets the tone. This seems to have been a misfire.

    Speaking of Bush looking bad (and of the Iraq-N.O. connection), here’s something worth noting. But then, maybe not. None of my other links were, apparently.

    You know what? Let’s make this easy. I HATE BUSH. HATE HIM, HATE HIM, HATE HIM. NOTHING YOU SAY, NO MATTER HOW REASONABLE, WILL CONVINCE ME THAT HE IS ANYTHING OTHER THAN AN UTTERLY STUPID, DEEPLY EVIL MAN.

    There, I’d say we’ve gotten to the heart of the matter, wouldn’t you?

  17. AnotherCoward says

    I don’t think my “friend” in the DHS is trying to dismiss federal responsibility but simply pointing out that the federal government does not come running to the front lines in these kinds of situations because it is, in general and foremost, the responsibility of the local and state governments. How many times has Florida had to declare martial law? I mean, for all the hurricanes that have hit florida, I can’t think of once when the state of florida requested let alone required the level of help needed in Louisiana. Mostly it’s just money and aid stuff that the federal government pumps into a state, not man power.

    And that’s where the problem is, Mark. I guarantee you, whatever solutions come out of this, it will be about how to speed things up not how to change the general form and flow of response, and how to guarantee and oversee state competency. The bottom line is that Louisiana by and large screwed up how it handled things, and the federal government couldn’t respond fast enough to take up the slack. That is the whole problem right there.

    As far as the levee (I’ve been misspelling that the entire time) system goes, give me a break (no pun intended). First, the problems here have long existed, so the fact that Bush inherited the problem does not make the totality of the situation his fault. The work that needed to be done on the levees, though this is pure speculation based on government projects like this in general, would not have been completed nor sufficient by the time the hurricane hit. And besides which, Corp of Engineer officials are saying they believe it was a loose barge that actually breached the levee, not the levee giving way (though it had been spilling over until that happened, but that’s much easier to deal with) here and here.

    I’ve got mixed feelings on showing the dead in pictures, so you’re not going to get much sympathy from me on that link. The media has a tendency to over do those kinds of things … so I understand requests of them to not do it at all.

    I think, Mark, you need to work on loving Bush a little more. I don’t mean that in the sense of admiring him and approving of him, but in the sense of giving him the benefit of the doubt even though you may still be suspicious. It has been plain to me that you’re looking for a reason to blame him when there is no clear reason for blame yet, and you’re reasons for doing so are increasingly seeming to founder. The heart of the matter is that you don’t care what is the matter, you’ve just got a chip on your shoulder that prevents you from being constructive or reasonable or even loving in a general sense. You’re taking someone else’s tragedy and spinning it into a political agenda before the politics and actualities of the situation are even clear. As I said earlier, that’s what makes what you have done the blame game.

  18. Mark Lickona says

    OK, so we’re still saying it was N.O.’s fault, but now in a new way, i.e., they didn’t sound the alarm early enough. But according to Al Naomi, as far as he knew, both state and feds had the information concerning the breaches in a fairly timely manner:

    “It was disseminated. It went to our OEP in Baton Rouge, to the state, FEMA, the Corps,” Naomi said. “The people in the field knew it. The people here (in Corps offices) in Louisiana and Mississippi knew it. I don’t know how communication worked in those agencies.”

    This, like your revelation about the dilemma that faced the overwhelmed mayor, does little to allay my concerns about the feds’ inept response, or its apparent “passing of the buck.” (Remember what the sign on Harry Truman’s desk said?)

    What damages your credibility in my eyes, AC, is that you don’t seem to show any cognitive dissonance concerning the difference between your/your friend’s assessment of the federal response and the federal government’s own assessment of its response (again, these are REPUBLICANS showing dismay, not Dems “interested” in taking down Bush). Nor have you yet spoken to the experience of reporters on the ground, who like the victims just weren’t seeing much federal presence, let alone an effective one. Nor is observing that the levee system was already in trouble any kind of justification for Bush quite arguably making matters worse by cutting funding to it for the sake of the war in Iraq! (Rather the justification for that, it seems to me, is to say that the war in Iraq was a more worthy cause!)

    I’ll admit I’ve gotten mad over the course of this conversation, AC. But it hasn’t been at Bush. It’s been at you, for suggesting that I’m working myself up in ignorance–or worse, having some sort of pre-disposition toward criticising Bush and his administration in this matter, perhaps even having some sort of political agenda. I’ve said it again and again: I’m reacting to what I’m reading, all over the place. If the press at large, from Fox.com to the Times-Picayune to the New York Observer, is not to be believed here, or is to be dismissed as politically slanted (though apparently it’s slanted both ways–?), then maybe I am upset for no reason. But from where I sit, it appears it’s you who needs to “broaden your view.” Then again, maybe you’re better informed than either the press at large/the reporters in N.O. or the federal government. Hey, in the age of the blogosphere, I suppose anything’s possible.

  19. AnotherCoward says

    Right, the only person that can give an evacuation order in a state is the governor. The story I’ve heard is that President Bush advised the governor to give the order to evacuate after the levees broke, she balked and waited 24 hours, in the mean time the mayor was issuing the order, but that is outside his official capacity as mayor. By the time the governor thought to give the order, it was all too late. That is more or less how I understand that situation from what I’ve read, heard, and seen. It’s possible that all of that is bogus, and reality is different from how it’s been reported, but that’s the last report I heard on the radio this morning.

    The Constitution of the United States does not grant the President the power to order a state into action (except for federal need such as war). That power belongs to the states to decide how each of them will do as they wish, and, in general, the particular powers you are wishing the President had executed belong to the governor. So, there has been no passing the buck here. The President has done his job. Perhaps he could have done it better. But he’s not the systemic problem here.

    There is no dissonance in my dismay for what I see, what others are saying, and my expectations of what has occurred. This makes absolute sense to me, knowing the facts that have led us here, as unfortunate as it is. The system broke down, but the system hasn’t stopped working. It’s doing what it can, as it can, as it knows how to do it. I wish things were better, but me getting mad about it isn’t going to change anything right now. Me looking to blame people without facts, proper and expected responsibilities, and while things are still on-going isn’t going to get us anywhere.

    You know, a lot of people are suffering, and the government can’t deal with just one group, Mark. That’s the problem of the scope of this problem. You’ve got a 200 mile wide storm (I know the Georgia border took a small bruising from the hurricane) that has created all kinds of destruction. It’s unreasonable to think that everyone is going to get what they need, when they need it, let alone right now and perhaps even for some time to come. This is why the federal presence seems to be limited and perhaps even ineffective. The system has just not been prepared to deal with such wide-spread devastation without competent and organized state support leading the way. Mississippi is in a far better state of affairs, and they are the ones that took the brunt of the storm. Louisiana is a very different picture. Those differences are at the state level of response, not the federal level.

    Personally, I do think Iraq is a worthier cause for federal money than the levee system now that we’re there, but I don’t think that excuses the levee system for being in such disarray. I don’t think there are clear cut answers as who is to blame. The federal government cutting funds to a state project is not in itself wrong. The unforeseen calamity it produces doesn’t make the federal government wholly culpable for a state project. In any event, I don’t think you can assign moral fault. But then again, all of that may not matter if a barge did in fact bust the levee and not the storm itself. Bottom line is, we don’t know right now and, if today’s reports are true, in the long run it probably won’t matter.

    I understand why you’re raging. You’re raging because of what you see, the way things are. But you’re not raging against that. That’s what I’ve been trying to address. Right now, there’s nothing TO rage against, and that’s what I’ve been saying. The whole of your tirade on this post and in these comments have been of the ilk of conspiracy (why this is happening) and of finding fault (who’s to blame). I’ve read over this whole thing, and I still see it.

    Know how your government works, know the kinds of logistics you’re dealing with, know the scope and scale of the problem at hand, and let that temper your rage and inform you. I understand where you’re coming from … truly I do … I’ve got friends who live in those areas and others going to help out and refugees/escapees/suffering-people-in-need seeking help in my archdiocese … but this problem is so freaking huge that it cannot and will not be solved over night or in any way that will comfort you regardless of who is president, what the president does, or our state of war.

    Once again we’ve reached the Mark-Spencer impasse. I’m sorry you seem to think I’m a dehumanized drone and out of touch with reality (I doubt you really think that, but since we’re wearing our emotions on our sleeves … that’s where I am). I know what you’re reading; I’m reading it, too. But I also have a different sense of what’s going from seeing the government(s) work in similar situations, friends who are involved in the government, friends and neighbors in the effected area, and a dim sense of appreciation for how wide-spread this mess really is (not saying you don’t, but I’ve travelled between Georgia and Louisiana, the South is my home … and I can’t imagine how you effectively get started caring for so many people … it’s why I’m not surprised at the slow start and yet amazed at the progress made so far). If you’d like to see me tirade, make a post about the ineptitude of FEMA.

  20. Now that some time has passed, Anothercoward has yet again been proven correct.

    Am a a supporter of President Bush? Let’s put our resources together and Impeach the loser.

    Yes, the Federal government said to the LA Gov., pull your citizens out of there, it’s going to be bad! She balked.

    Bush made a mess of FEMA after September 11, 2001. Natural or not, the US Government, State and cities were not prepared for what happened in New Orleans and the Gulf. Believe me, just because a “Big” City, like Los Angeles or New York has riches and are supposed to be “Important” meccas that everyone is going to get it right. Have you even driven in either of those places on a “normal” day??? Have you seen what happens in either of those two cities when the power fails???

    Bush first got elected because he promised Americans tax rebate checks – “It’s your money”. Vote for me and I’ll send you money. Now again he has no plan, but he will promise the Gulf States… “I’ll send you money!”

    Clinton lied about having sex – Impeach him! … and no one died. Bush lied us into invading two Countries and tens of thousands have died – ? Where is the outrage? Republicans believe in States should be left alone to run themselves. One problem is that the same Republicans believe we should hire more people to work for the Federal system to have more people to tell the States that they should run themselves! So you’ve got a lot of people passing the buck… oops, just ran out of bucks!

    I am, “No where to go, but I’m Here”

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